Even if you are using natural ways to keep comfortable when temperatures are high, you may still feel too warm and choose to use electrical appliances to cool the air in your home during summer. However changing the air temperature takes a lot of energy, so here are some tips to get a balance that works for you.
Air conditioning can give greater control of comfort in any climate. An AC will typically consume 10 times more energy than a fan.
For efficient air conditioning, the house or room should ideally be well sealed and well insulated. Windows should also be shaded from the summer sun.
Avoid leaving the air conditioner running when no one is home. It is cheaper to cool the house down when you arrive home.
Once you know the size of system you need you can compare the star ratings to get the most efficient model you can afford. If you expect to use it often, then getting the highest star rating is important as running costs may quickly add up to be more than the purchase cost.
Fixed systems need to be installed by a licensed refrigeration mechanic/electrician.
Setting the thermostat at a temperature lower than you need will not make the unit cool faster, so this is unnecessary.
Fans should be the first choice for mechanical cooling. They are the cheapest cooling option to run and have the lowest greenhouse impact. Typically, the air flow created by a fan provides a similar improvement to comfort as reducing the air temperature by around 3°C.
Fans can be either portable (pedestal fans) or fixed (ceiling/wall fans). Fixed fans are often better in areas like the bedroom where they are out of the way and always required in the same location. Portable fans are more suited to areas like the living room where you can position the fan wherever it is needed throughout the day.
If you use a fan, direct the flow of air to your face. It’s more effective because the face has so many receptors on it.
If the outside temperature is lower than the temperature in your home then the fan will be much more effective if it is placed next to an open window, as this will draw air from outdoors, which should be cooler.
Portable fans vary considerably in how much they move and how much noise they make. Choose one that suits your situation – for example, a quiet fan is usually the best option for a bedroom.
COMBINING AIR CON/FAN
Using fans in combination with an air conditioner means you can set the air conditioner to a higher temperature in summer (add at least 3°C) and still feel the same. The combined energy cost will be far less than running an air conditioner alone.